Above: Japanese soldiers during an exercise at a US Marine Corps Base. Credit: US DoD
Elbit Systems, Nippon Aircraft Supply and Itochu Aviation have signed a strategic cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote mutual cooperation for the benefit of Japan’s defense efforts. As part of the MOU, Elbit Systems will provide the main components, technology and knowledge to NAS and Itochu. NAS will provide the capabilities for local integration, manufacturing, test and maintenance and Itochu will lead the marketing of the products in Japan. The cooperation marks an urgent need of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.
Japan is now facing new threats from North Korea and China, but following many years of neglect, its defense forces and defense industry are small and lack modern capabilities. According to Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, over the past thirty years, Japan has maintained an annual defense budget of about 1% of its GDP. This is below the 2% NATO benchmark and even further from regional counterparts such as South Korea, India, and Taiwan. “Decades of low spending have left Japan’s defense force with aging physical infrastructure and low munitions stockpiles. Upgrading Japan’s defense sector will take years to complete, only yielding full benefits well-after 2027.”
Technology and knowhow transfer
The MOU with Elbit is aimed to address the growing Japanese interest in the field of defense. Osamu Matsushita, President of Nippon Aircraft Supply said the partners will contribute to Japan’s defense by providing high-quality made-in Japan products. “We will act in the role of integration, local production, testing and maintenance with the most advanced and combat-proven solutions developed by Elbit Systems.”
Ran Kril, Executive VP International Marketing & Business Development of Elbit Systems, said that Elbit is in close contact with its local partners and offers them innovative and cutting-edge technological solutions. “We remain committed to the transfer of technology as well as the manufacturing of our solutions in the local market.”